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Although it has not been officially acknowledged by the United States government, there seems to be little doubt that Vladamir Putin’s Russia is attempting to influence the outcome of the United States presidential election. Hackers, tracked to the Russian government, broke into the Democratic National Committee servers, and 20,000 of the Committee’s emails were released through WikiLeaks. Russia has not released any comparable trove of Republican documents.
The FBI has warned state election officials to be on the lookout for attempts to hack into their elections systems. Arizona and Illinois election systems have been already been victims of cyber attacks apparently originating in Russia.
What interest does Russia have in influencing our presidential election? It should be no secret that Russia would be happier with a Trump presidency and not just because Donald Trump has openly expressed his admiration for Vladimir Putin and publicly invited Russia to hack into Hilary Clinton’s email server. Vladimir Putin is an intelligent man who is unlikely to be impressed by Donald Trump’s sycophantic flattery. Putin’s real interest is in seeing the United States lose its influence in the world, thus giving Russia a freer rein to dominate its neighbors.
As Vladimir Putin knows just as well as any intelligent American does, a Trump presidency would doubtlessly be a dysfunctional presidency. If Donald Trump is elected president, the executive branch of our government will be too occupied with its internal problems to pay much attention to what is going on in the rest of the world. Internationally, our traditional allies would likely have as little to do as possible with a Trump government. American influence in the world would fall to levels never before experienced in the country’s modern history. United States influence in the world would be even much less than it was during the George W. Bush presidency.
An impotent United States government would be a boon not only to Vladimir Putin but to all of the world’s authoritarian rulers. Small countries of the world look to the United States to keep Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea in check. Donald Trump has already stated that as president, he would have little interest in coming to the aid of our allies. Russia would be able to run roughshod over Eastern Europe, and China would threaten countries such as the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Vladimir Putin will not be pleased if Hillary Clinton is elected president. For all of her defects, and they are many, Hillary Clinton is not a person to be easily manipulated by the likes of Mr. Putin. Unlike Donald Trump, she does not fly off the handle in reaction to a tweet that rubs her the wrong way.
I am not a Hillary Clinton fan. However, if I were Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or Kim Jong Il, I would much rather deal with the malleable Mr. Trump than with the hard-nosed Ms. Clinton.